Rishi Mandal has been focused on how to bring human augmentation to scale for his entire career..
On the Dealmakers Podcast Mandal talks about running towards the challenges, the broken healthcare system, investing in human augmentation, fundraising, and becoming the largest full-time employer of coaches in America today.
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From Garage Startup To Billion Dollar Business
Rishi Mandal was born and grew up in the Bay Area, where his parents had immigrated to from India.
He saw his dad rebuilding by working nights at the local 7 Eleven. Then one day when he was 12 years old he came home and his father announced that he had quit his job, and was going to start his own company out of the garage.
This gave Rishi a front row seat to seeing a startup formed from nothing in their home. He saw more of his dad’s friends quit their jobs, and bring their laptops to the garage to join the venture.
They had picnic tables, a couch, and a coffee table covered with tech and business magazines. Great fuel for him to begin reading up on how other entrepreneurs were doing similar things of their own.
Rishi says that he got to be their IT guy. Helping to configure laptops and set up new hires, or fix fax machines.
Then one morning as he arrived home from school Mandal says that he was surprised to see a purple Porsche, parked diagonally in their driveway. He walked in to find everyone dressed up and a VC, and the first investor of Hotmail there.
They scaled that business, moved out to a real campus, and eventually had it acquired for a couple billion dollars.
So, from a very early age Rishi saw that you could invent things and build a big company around that. He says that this exposure in your youth is incredibly formative. Just seeing what options and possibilities there are for your life, and what you can achieve.
He himself went on to continue building things and patented ideas out of that same garage.
He saw that with an idea, team, and hard work, regular people can build powerful things. Of course, he also saw the trials and challenges. The non-linear journey to success, the work it takes to get and maintain funding, and so on.
Yet, he says that anything is possible, if you stay consistent, and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
In fact, that is some of his top advice today. If you want to change the world and find big success in some way, just be consistent and work hard over a long period of time. Remember that Steve Jobs was 52 when he launched the iPhone.
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Run Toward The Challenges
Rishi Mandal says that he has always naturally wanted to run toward challenges, and to operate in that zone of high stress, where you are being engaged.
He was constantly putting himself in situations where he’d have to out-hustle everyone else to be able to compete. Whether that was in soccer, in classes at Stanford, or in business.
While at college two things really set him on the path to where he is today. One was realizing that you can write and publish a very insightful paper and publish it, yet have fewer people read it than the number of authors involved in it. Then he also met some members of the Paypal Mafia, Max and Keith.
He loved their challenging interview process, and ended up joining one of their startups. A company that was pretty quickly acquired by Google.
Then, with a group of others working on Google Slides, he left to take on the challenge of building his own first real company from the ground up.
Rishi says that he became intensely interested in ‘human augmentation’. Which has really been the theme of his companies since then. Not replacing humans with technology, but using technology to take unique human things like good taste or empathy, or intimacy, and to use technology to try to amplify those things.
That first took the form of his startup Sosh. Which was all about the challenge of finding interesting things to do in any city.
They did so well at that remotely, that they were ultimately acquired by Postmates.
Then after a stint on the other side of the table as an Entrepreneur In Residence (EIR) with Khosla Ventures he was ready to go at it as an operator with another company of his own again.
Rishi’s current venture is Future, which provides virtual personal training and is the largest employer of coaches in America today. They specialize in helping people consistently achieve and live in their peak performance with remote coaches and technology, which helps you know what exercise to do, when to work out, and more, in a very human way.
So far they’ve already raised $100M for this venture, and look forward to helping many more people be able to live their best lives, without having to figure out everything about their own healthcare themselves.
Storytelling is everything which is something that Rishi Mandal was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here), where the most critical slides are highlighted.
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Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:
- Funding from a VC’s perspective
- Building a company that gets acquired
- Healthcare and health tech